[Country map of Ethiopia]



Location: Eastern Africa, west of Somalia

Map references: Africa

total area: 1,127,127 sq km
land area: 1,119,683 sq km
comparative area: slightly less than twice the size of Texas

Land boundaries: total 5,311 km, Djibouti 337 km, Eritrea 912 km, Kenya 830 km, Somalia 1,626 km, Sudan 1,606 km

Coastline: none - landlocked

Maritime claims: none; landlocked

International disputes: southern half of the boundary with Somalia is a Provisional Administrative Line; territorial dispute with Somalia over the Ogaden

Climate: tropical monsoon with wide topographic-induced variation

Terrain: high plateau with central mountain range divided by Great Rift Valley

Natural resources: small reserves of gold, platinum, copper, potash

Land use:
arable land: 12%
permanent crops: 1%
meadows and pastures: 41%
forest and woodland: 24%
other: 22%

Irrigated land: 1,620 sq km (1989 est.)

current issues: deforestation; overgrazing; soil erosion; desertification; famine
natural hazards: geologically active Great Rift Valley susceptible to earthquakes, volcanic eruptions; frequent droughts
international agreements: party to - Biodiversity, Climate Change, Endangered Species, Ozone Layer Protection; signed, but not ratified - Desertification, Environmental Modification, Law of the Sea, Nuclear Test Ban

Note: landlocked - entire coastline along the Red Sea was lost with the de jure independence of Eritrea on 27 April 1993


Population: 55,979,018 (July 1995 est.)
note: Ethiopian demographic data, except population and population growth rate, include Eritrea

Age structure:
0-14 years: 46% (female 12,782,345; male 12,802,187)
15-64 years: 52% (female 14,352,059; male 14,511,342)
65 years and over: 2% (female 815,974; male 715,111) (July 1995 est.)

Population growth rate: 3.09% (1995 est.)

Birth rate: 46.68 births/1,000 population (1995 est.)

Death rate: 15.77 deaths/1,000 population (1995 est.)

Net migration rate: NA migrant(s)/1,000 population (1995 est.)
note: repatriation of Ethiopian refugees from Sudan, Kenya and Somalia, where they had taken refuge from war and famine in earlier years, is expected to continue in 1995; additional influxes of Sudanese and Somalis fleeing fighting in their countries can be expected in 1995

Infant mortality rate: 120.6 deaths/1,000 live births (1995 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 50 years
male: 48.28 years
female: 51.78 years (1995 est.)

Total fertility rate: 7.07 children born/woman (1995 est.)

noun: Ethiopian(s)
adjective: Ethiopian

Ethnic divisions: Oromo 40%, Amhara and Tigrean 32%, Sidamo 9%, Shankella 6%, Somali 6%, Afar 4%, Gurage 2%, other 1%

Religions: Muslim 45%-50%, Ethiopian Orthodox 35%-40%, animist 12%, other 5%

Languages: Amharic (official), Tigrinya, Orominga, Guaraginga, Somali, Arabic, English (major foreign language taught in schools)

Literacy: age 10 and over can read and write (1984)
total population: 24%
male: 33%
female: 16%

Labor force: 18 million
by occupation: agriculture and animal husbandry 80%, government and services 12%, industry and construction 8% (1985)


conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Ethiopia
local long form: none
local short form: Ityop'iya

Digraph: ET

Type: transitional government
note: on 28 May 1991 the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) toppled the authoritarian government of MENGISTU Haile-Mariam and took control in Addis Ababa; a new constitution was promulgated in December 1994 and national and regional elections are scheduled for May 1995; the administrative regions will elect regional assemblies by popular vote; the National Assembly will have two chambers - one elected by popular vote and the other selected as representatives by the regional assemblies; the lower house of the National Assembly will select or confirm the president, the prime minister and the cabinet officers and judges; the prime minister will be the chief executive officer and the duties of the president will be mostly ceremonial

Capital: Addis Ababa

Administrative divisions: 14 ethnically-based administrative regions (astedader akababiwach, singular - astedader akababi) Addis Ababa, Afar, Amhara, Benishangul, Gambela, Gurage-Hadiya-Kambata, Hareri, Kefa, Omo, Oromo, Sidama, Somali, Tigray, Wolayta
note: the following named four administrative regions may have been abolished and their territories distributed among the remaining ten regions: Kefa, Omo, Sidama, and Wolayta

Independence: oldest independent country in Africa and one of the oldest in the world - at least 2,000 years

National holiday: National Day, 28 May (1991) (defeat of Mengistu regime)

Constitution: new constitution promulgated in December 1994

Legal system: NA

Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal

Executive branch:
chief of state: President MELES Zenawi (since 1 June 1991); appointed by the Council of Representatives following the military defeat of the MENGISTU government; following the elections to the National Assembly scheduled for May 1995 the lower house of the National Assembly will nominate a new president
head of government: Prime Minister TAMIRAT Layne (since 6 June 1991); a new prime minister will be designated by the party in power following the elections to the General Assembly in May 1995
cabinet: Council of Ministers; presently designated by the chairman of the Council of Representatives; under the new constitution and following the elections in May 1995 the cabinet officers will be selected by the prime minister

Legislative branch:
Constituent Assembly: elections were held on 5 June 1994; results - government parties swept almost all seats; in December 1994 the Constituent Assembly ratified the new constitution with few changes; the new constitution prescribes two chambers for the new National Assembly - one which is elected by popular vote and one which represents the ethnic interests of the regional governments

Judicial branch: Supreme Court

Political parties and leaders: Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), MELES Zenawi;

Other political or pressure groups: Oromo Liberation Front (OLF); All Amhara People's Organization; Southern Ethiopia People's Democratic Coalition; numerous small, ethnic-based groups have formed since Mengistu's resignation, including several Islamic militant groups


Diplomatic representation in US:
chief of mission: Ambassador BERHANE Gebre-Christos
chancery: 2134 Kalorama Road NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 234-2281, 2282
FAX: [1] (202) 328-7950

US diplomatic representation:
chief of mission: Ambassador Irvin HICKS
embassy: Entoto Street, Addis Ababa
mailing address: P. O. Box 1014, Addis Ababa
telephone: [251] (1) 550666
FAX: [251] (1) 552191

Flag: three equal horizontal bands of green (top), yellow, and red; Ethiopia is the oldest independent country in Africa, and the colors of her flag were so often adopted by other African countries upon independence that they became known as the pan-African colors


Overview: With the independence of Eritrea on 27 April 1993, Ethiopia continues to face difficult economic problems as one of the poorest and least developed countries in Africa. Its economy is based on agriculture, which accounts for about 45% of GDP, 90% of exports, and 80% of total employment; coffee generates 60% of export earnings. The agricultural sector suffers from frequent periods of drought, poor cultivation practices, and deterioration of internal security conditions. The manufacturing sector is heavily dependent on inputs from the agricultural sector. Over 90% of large-scale industry, but less than 10% of agriculture, is state run. The government is considering selling off a portion of state-owned plants, and is implementing reform measures that are gradually liberalizing the economy. A major medium-term problem is the improvement of roads, water supply, and other parts of an infrastructure badly neglected during years of civil strife.

National product: GDP - purchasing power parity - $20.3 billion (1993 est.)

National product real growth rate: 3% (1994 est.)

National product per capita: $380 (1993 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 10% (FY93/94)

Unemployment rate: NA%

revenues: $1.2 billion
expenditures: $1.7 billion, including capital expenditures of $707 million (FY93/94)

Exports: $219.8 million (f.o.b., 1993 est.)
commodities: coffee, leather products, gold
partners: Germany, Japan, Saudi Arabia, France, Italy

Imports: $1.04 billion (c.i.f., 1993 est.)
commodities: capital goods, consumer goods, fuel
partners: US, Germany, Italy, Saudi Arabia, Japan

External debt: $3.7 billion (1993 est.)

Industrial production: growth rate -3.3% (FY91/92); accounts for 12% of GDP

capacity: 460,000 kW
production: 1.3 billion kWh
consumption per capita: 23 kWh (1993)

Industries: food processing, beverages, textiles, chemicals, metals processing, cement

Agriculture: accounts for 45% of GDP; export crops of coffee and oilseeds are grown partly on state farms; estimated 50% of agricultural production is at subsistence level; principal crops and livestock - cereals, pulses, coffee, oilseeds, sugarcane, potatoes and other vegetables, hides and skins, cattle, sheep, goats

Illicit drugs: transit hub for heroin originating in Southwest and Southeast Asia and destined for Europe and North America as well as cocaine destined for southern African markets; cultivates qat (chat) for local use and regional export

Economic aid:
recipient: US commitments, including Ex-Im (FY70-89), $504 million; Western (non-US) countries, ODA and OOF bilateral commitments (1970-89), $3.4 billion; OPEC bilateral aid (1979-89), $8 million; Communist countries (1970-89), $2 billion

Currency: 1 birr (Br) = 100 cents

Exchange rates: birr (Br) per US$1 - 5.9500 (January 1995), 5.9500 (1994), 5.0000 (fixed rate 1992-93); fixed at 2.070 before 1992; note - official rate pegged to the US$

Fiscal year: 8 July - 7 July


total: 681 km (Ethiopian segment of the Addis Ababa-Djibouti railroad)
narrow gauge: 681 km 1.000-m gauge

total: 24,127 km
paved: 3,289 km
unpaved: gravel 6,664 km; improved earth 1,652 km; unimproved earth 12,522 km (1993)

Ports: none

Merchant marine:
total: 12 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 62,627 GRT/88,909 DWT
ships by type: cargo 8, livestock carrier 1, oil tanker 2, roll-on/roll-off cargo 1

total: 98
with paved runways over 3,047 m: 2
with paved runways 2,438 to 3,047 m: 3
with paved runways 1,524 to 2,437 m: 2
with paved runways 914 to 1,523 m: 1
with paved runways under 914 m: 24
with unpaved runways over 3,047 m: 4
with unpaved runways 2,438 to 3,047 m: 6
with unpaved runways 1,524 to 2,438 m: 14
with unpaved runways 914 to 1,523 m: 42


Telephone system: NA telephones; open-wire and radio relay system adequate for government use
local: NA
intercity: open wire and microwave radio relay links
international: open-wire to Sudan and Djibouti; microwave radio relay to Kenya and Djibouti; 3 INTELSAT (1 Atlantic Ocean and 2 Pacific Ocean) earth stations

broadcast stations: AM 4, FM 0, shortwave 0
radios: 9 million

broadcast stations: 1
televisions: 100,000

Defense Forces

Branches: Transitional Government of Ethiopia Forces, Air Force, Police

Manpower availability: males age 15-49 12,658,084; males fit for military service 6,569,759; males reach military age (18) annually 565,976 (1995 est.)

Defense expenditures: exchange rate conversion - $140 million, 4.1% of GDP (FY94/95)